Plaka, built in the shadow of the Acropolis, is an authentic sample of where old-world Athens meets the new.
It’s a place where you will find ancient ruins on almost every corner; as well as a variety of charming cafes serving coffee, drinks and desserts, with the most historic views.
Here, we’ve rounded up our favourites when visiting this beautiful part of the city!
Yiasemi is a picturesque spot that’s become the Instagrammable bistro-café in the neighbourhood thanks to all the jam-packed tables lined along the staircase. You can sit and relax, watching people go by, while also sampling the great vegetarian buffet breakfast that features delightful dishes made using fresh, local produce. A: (Mnisikleous 23)
Café Melina is a retro café dedicated to Greek actress and political activist Melina Merkouri, features plenty of images and decor honouring the late actress. With an indoor and outdoor seating area, the all-day menu includes mezedes, as well as crepes and homemade desserts. A: (Lysiou 22)
Kimolia Art Café, a colourful and unique cafe that’s hidden in the alleyways of Plaka; Kimolia is set in a historic 1925 building, allowing visitors to step back in time with its traditional decor and ambience. A: (Ypereidou 5)
Anafiotika Café, located on the most famous steps of the neighbourhood; is the ideal place for a coffee during a morning stroll or a Greek meze later on in the day. A: (Mnisikleous 24)
Café Plaka is a great place all year round but we love it even more in winter for its fireplace and a wonderful roof terrace where you can sit and enjoy the sunny mornings. Tip: try the pancakes and take photos in front of the pink house. A: (Tripodon 1)
O Glykys is a traditional kafeneio that serves great Greek coffee, tsipouro, and homemade delicacies. Here you will find locals enjoying a game of tavli (backgammon), of course. A: (Geronta 2)
Dioskouroi, located right in the centre of old Athens, this cafe recently received a new design without losing its traditional atmosphere and appeal. It’s a favourite amongst students, locals and tourists alike, who come here for a coffee in the morning and a cocktail or wine during the evening. A: (37-39 Adrianou)
The low down… Tired of ordering your cocktail, only to have it accompanied by nuts or chips? So too were the group behind this new bar in Kypseli, located on the pedestrian street of Agias Zonis. At Eprepe, zero waste is a key philosophy and you’ll often see the same raw ingredients included in their cocktails and bar food. Seasonality also plays a role from the food and the preparations for their cocktail list right down to their wine cellar.
Décor/ Ambience: The space is modern yet comfortable, with countertops, cushioned high chairs and a side bar that opens almost completely, so that the neighbourhood becomes part of the interior. The feeling is familiar and comfortable, yet has a definite bar vibe to it and a rotation of DJs throughout the week.
Something to drink: There is a handsome selection of natural wines, and a range of harder-to-find spirits. Classic cocktails like the negroni and dry martini sit alongside signature cocktails like the house spritz made from pet nat wine, bitters and soda.
Menu: The small bites on the menu are perfect for sharing over a glass of natural wine. Bites are all made in-house from scratch and include house-made focaccia, grilled cauliflower served on carrot and ginger puree, and an aromatic chickpea dish served with sesame crackers. All drinks are accompanied by off-menu bites like fried gigantes beans, parmesan cookies and even handmade chocolate truffles.
Order my fave dish: The menu is seasonal, but if you come across the tartaki (small tarts filled with pea cream and topped with asparagus), it’s a must-try. These small morsels are fresh, fragrant and packed with flavour.
Price range: Bar food ranges from 3-7 euro and cocktails average out at 9 euro.
Clientele: Young, hip locals of Kypseli (and surrounding neighbourhoods). Great for catching up with one or two friends or unwinding with an after work drink.
Location: Agias Zonis 1, Athens
Opening hours/days: Closed Mondays. Open from 2 pm-2 am (Sundays 1-8pm).
The first ‘This is Athens Festival’ is set to take place throughout the entire month of May, with more than 100 events scheduled all over the Greek capital.
For 30 days, both locals and visitors are invited to explore urban Athens in full bloom with a great selection of exhibitions, street parties, wine pairing at world-renowned museums, open-air movie screenings, picnics, walking tours, theatrical performances, live music concerts, and more.
From a fun-filled all-day picnic at Plato Academy and a cool street party at Varvakeio, to a stunning jazz concert on the terrace of the Acropolis Museum- each event puts the spotlight on Athens’ vibrant and rich art (theatrical and musical performances, galleries, museums), gastronomy, sports and nightlife scene.
‘This is Athens City Festival’ is an initiative of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, which aims to make this an exciting annual event, by promoting activities and performances that appeal to both locals and visitors alike.
Having the pleasant spring weather as its driving force, the ‘Athens City Festival’ events will take place mainly outdoors at carefully selected spots that highlight not only the city’s contemporary history but also its architectural identity.
“Athens is returning to its rhythm and we are creating a celebration for the city, inviting Athenians and visitors to the ‘This is Athens City Festival’, which is set in both the centre and surrounding neighbourhoods,” announced Athens’ Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis.
The Festival will kick off on May 1, with a huge picnic filled with food, friends, sun and music. Taking place at the blooming grounds of the Plato Academy Park, famous radio DJ hosts of Athens will soundtrack the day from the early morning to late evening, with dozens of free activities on offer; including movie screenings, kids’ activities, family games and lots of food and drinks.
Click here for more info on tickets and dates, as well as the full program of ‘This is Athens City Festival’.
Everyone knows a good book requires a warm cup of tea or coffee. Yes, you can get this at home but there’s something special about a good bookstore café where you can pick up a pastry and a warm beverage before diving into the latest chapter of your favourite genre. So we’ve compiled a list of the best bookstore cafes in Athens, for those who can’t get enough of those good, old fashioned books!
Little Tree Books & Coffee
Located just around the corner from the Acropolis Museum,Little Tree is the ideal place to relax and read your book while enjoying a fragrant cup of coffee or tea, and a light homemade snack. The food here is prepared using a variety of fresh local ingredients and the desserts are simply delicious. Apart from its cozy atmosphere and nice snacks, Little Tree is also stocked with interesting books of all sorts and holds an exceptional selection of children’s books.
A: 2 Kavalotti, Makrygianni
Located in Palaio Faliro, Booktalks is the creation of two bibliophile bloggers who came together in order to combine books and coffee, their simple everyday pleasure. Stop by to relax, read, enjoy a hot cup of coffee and savour its treats. Don’t miss the various book presentations and literary events that are held at Booktalks.
Located in the northern suburb of Kifissia, Evripidis, one of the oldest bookshops in Athens, is a meeting point for fruitful discussions with a cup of coffee. Evripidis first opened its doors in 1955, and now covering four floors, it attracts bibliophiles from all over town. Its large collection of Greek and foreign language books, as well as a wide variety of children’s books and its inviting coffee shop, are the reason why. It also features a small stationery shop adjacent, where brands such as Mont Blanc, Moleskine, Clairfontaine, and Waterman are found.
A: 310 Leoforos, Kifissias
At Lemoni you can find an excellent selection of specialised books on art, Japanese poetry, and mythology, postcards, Moleskines and table books, while enjoying your coffee. If the day is warm, head to the backyard garden, take a seat and sink into your book, without being interrupted.
A: 22 Iraklidon, Athens
Free Thinking Zone
A warm place where you can share ideas, read a book and enjoy a coffee. The bookstore hosts permanent and periodic book collections and is the perfect spot to meet new people and take part in a discussion while having a coffee. Various events, including cultural, political and social, take place on the premises.
One of Athens’ most striking buildings is the neoclassical Zappeion Hall, the first building in the world constructed in honour of the modern Olympic Games.
Designed by Danish architect Theophil Hansen and completed in 1888, its construction was funded by the national benefactor, Evangelos Zappas. Since its opening, Zappeion has been linked with numerous significant moments in Greece’s history. In the past few years, some of the country’s most significant events have taken place here- including European summits, political conferences, as well as art exhibitions, fashion shows and other artistic and musical performances.
Located in the centre of Athens, the Zappeion Hall is surrounded by the Greek Parliament building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Right next to it is the National Gardens and, opposite, on the side of the Ardittos Hill, the Panathenaic Stadium; Hadrian’s Arch and the ancient Temple of the Olympian Zeus.
The surrounding area of Zappeion is adorned with a multitude of statues, reflecting upon Greece’s modern history and at the main entrance are the statues of the two Zappas cousins, who funded the construction of the building; as well as a charming park, where locals go for a walk. Across Zappeion Hall there is Aigli, a nice café serving homemade pizza and club sandwiches as well as Aperol Spritz, salads and wines. Right next door is an open-air movie theatre of the same name, which is also loved by Athenians – especially during summer.
When visiting also make sure to check out the archaeological site of the Roman Baths built at the end of the 3rd century AD- they are located within the Zappeion grounds on Vassilissis Amalias Avenue. The site was discovered during excavations for the construction of the Athens Metro and has been made accessible to the public since 2004.
Zappeion’s gardens are surrounded by the streets Irodou Attikou, Vasileos Konstantinou, Vasilissis Olgas, and Vasilissis Amalias and the National Gardens feature charming lawns, atriums, patios, flower beds and charming orange trees that are also lovely to see.
Athens in the spring is an idyllic destination for tourist-free ramblings to parks, museums, neighbourhoods and restaurants. Add the fact that within less than two hours you can hop into a car, bus, or boat and reach somewhere very special for a lovely day trip and you’ve got a winner! Here we put the spotlight on our four favourite places to explore in a day.
Head for the southernmost tip of Attica and walk up to the 5th C B.C. Doric Temple of Poseidon, God of the sea, towers on an acropolis with astounding views of the sea on three different sides. Though to be constructed according to Sacred Geometry and according to the metaphysically minded to be positioned exactly under four stars that are the ‘portals of the Universe’ the temple has enchanted thousands upon thousands of visitors throughout the ages, including Lord Byron, who carved out his name on one of the temple’s doorposts. Only around a 50-minute drive from Athens, Sounio is an ideal destination for a sunny springtime day trip. Spend the day by the sea enjoying coffee or a seafood lunch at one of the fish taverns of Lavrio town with its pretty marina and walk up to Temple just before sunset. To explore the surrounding area, head along the Ethnikos Drimos forested road parallel to the road from Sounio to Lavrio and traipse the many paths to come across chapels, ancient wells and a huge crater called ‘Chaos’.
In just 40 minutes on a flying dolphin vessel, you’ll find yourself on the pretty, historical and culturally charming Saronic island of Aegina, famous for its delicious local pistachio variety (make sure you try the unforgettable pistachio ice cream sold at the port). Spend the day wandering through the town or take a horse-drawn carriage ride and enjoy views of the sea as you chow down on fresh fish and ouzo. Right outside scenic Aegina Town, with its attractive neoclassical architecture, visit the Temple of Aphaia, one of Greece’s most important ancient sites. Also, within walking distance from the centre of town is the Christos Kapralos Museum, the old studio of one of Greece’s most famous sculptors. To get a feeling of local culture, visit the Orthodox church of Agios Nektarios, dedicated to Greece’s first modern saint and patron saint of Aegina. Explore the villages of Agia Marina and especially Perdika in the southwest part of the island, where you’ll feel you’ve teleported to the Cyclades because of the picturesque, whitewashed houses and streets decorated with colourful flowers. From Perdika you can hop onto a boat for a 10-minute ride to Moni islet where you can admire protected animal inhabitants, including peacocks and deer, and the emerald waters that surround it. Don’t miss out on Paleochora, the island’s ancient capital, an old Byzantine town where you’ll see the remnants of 38 chapels. Also well worth a visit is the archaeological site of Kolona, characterised by the Doric column and the remains of the Temple of Apollo.
Acro Corinth & Ancient Corinth
On your way to these two beautiful and important historical destinations stop at the Corinth Canal, a narrow canal (around 7km across and 8m deep) that marks you’ve started your journey into the Peloponnese region. A strategic trading spot in ancient times, the canal connected the Ionian and Aegean seas. In the modern city of Corinth, you’ll find ancient (chiefly Roman) ruins among streets, tourist shops and eateries. Visit Ancient Corinth, where the likes of Pausanias, and St Paul, who taught the gospel of Christ have trodden. At the ancient site, admire the seven remaining columns of the Temple of Apollo, the North Market, the South Stoa, Lechaion Road, and the theatre and the Asklepion. Just half an hour’s drive away, you’ll reach Acrocorinth, especially lush and photographable in springtime, with increasingly wondrous views as you rise higher and higher up the hill, stopping to explore Medieval and Ottoman fortifications. The Natura 200 habitat of 540m-high Acrocorinth is an excellent place to trek uphill to take in spanning views of ancient Corinth and the sprawling Peloponnesian landscapes all around. From here, drive to Lake Stymphalia to enjoy even more natural beauty with ancient roots.
South of Corinth (and two hours drive from Athens) is Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece and one of the country’s most quaint destinations. With a perfect combination of seaside life, neoclassical Venetian architecture and labyrinthine paved roads, Ottoman and Byzantine buildings, including the fortress of Palamidi (find out for yourself; is it really a whopping 999 steps to reach up there?) that crowns the town, it makes for a dreamy day trip. Explore the Old Town with Syntagma Square and Old Admirals Square, chic little stores lining the Great Road, cafes and restaurants, and don’t miss out on the Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Church of the Virgin Mary’s Birth, the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation Museum, the Old Mosque on Syntagma Square and the Palace of Justice.
The restaurant scene of Athens has been exciting and alluring for several decades and following a few years of lockdown has now become even more so. Here we present you with some of the most talked-about new arrivals in the capital’s dining scene.
Alexandros Tsiotini’s innovative culinary concept has moved from the greater Hilton area and Dioharous Street to the spot where Athiri restaurant used to be. His new space is more impressive and with a lovely garden. As for the cuisine, it follows the chef’s vision with a stronger element of Greekness and a special emphasis on raw materials.
A: Plateon 15, Athens
Linou Soubaris & Sia
One of the newest hits of the Athenian culinary scene, this restaurant has already become a hit for combining a minimalist décor, candle-lit dining area in Psirri with cuisine that is delightfully simple yet extremely delicious.
A: Melanthiou 2, Athens
One of the most heard-about openings of last autumn was Soil, a fine dining restaurant created by Tasos Mantis (known from his Michelin-star awarded work at Hytra restaurant) and Alexandros Mouridis. Located in a vibrant part of Pagrati near the Panathenaic Stadium, chef Mantis’ famous garden in Alepochori fully inspires the restaurant’s dishes.
A: Ferekidou 5, Athina
This new venture by the team of Yannis Morakis, Giorgos Melissaris and Giorgos Kanellopoulos is based in the space that used to house the old Nikkei restaurant. It’s a premium steakhouse with an expertly designed wine list by sommelier Michalis Theodorakis. The cuts definitely have the upper hand but be sure to try the burgers with dry-aged minced meat, Red Leicester cheddar and caramelized onions as well as the Royal Chicken with truffle and Albufera sauce.
A: Leventi 3, Kolonaki
From the first day it opened, this cool taqueria by Lelo Georgopoulos, Athenagoras Kostakos and the team of Kuko’s went viral and not only because of its catchy name. In these colourful and fun interiors or at one of the tables on the sidewalk, try its well-made, Mexico-inspired cocktails, tacos, mouth-watering sea bream ceviche with hot yellow pepper sauce and a beef tartare with hot pepper sauce.
A: Kalamiotou 15, Athens
One of the most unexpected, tastebud-tickling and feel-good arrivals of last autumn was this Asian restaurant/dim sum bar in Piraeus, in one of its most underdeveloped areas. A breath away from the commercial centre of the port and on a street you probably wouldn’t expect to visit, Kitschen has been set up by Dimitris Liem (with stints at Matsuhisa, Momo and e&o among others) and Spyros Mineto (9Beta). The former has taken over the kitchen, with his deep expertise and a focus on top quality raw materials and high flavour; the latter has set up a drinks section with scrumptious signature cocktails such as Chino Latino, Samurai’s Sling and Cobra Kai.
A: Kanari 5, Piraeus
The Black Salami Microbakery
Foodie Instagrammers know this is currently one of the hottest spots in Athens. It’s not quite a restaurant, but we felt it important to include it in this list. It is described as a micro-bakery (due to limited bread production) and presents one of the most delectable brunch options (top of the line are the Eggs Benedict and Greek kayanas scrambled eggs) as well as great sandwiches with fluffy breads.
A: Zoodochou Pigis 71, Athens
Part of a dining triptych, this ‘neo-traditional’ souvlaki restaurant in Pagrati opened during a lockdown last March. Mimis is the latest venture of Elvi Dimitris Zympas, who also runs the excellent Alficon and Elvis kalamaki bar, in a new experiment with something he really loves.
A: Efranoros 10, Pagrati
Bistrot at Mira Me Athens
With a philosophy of ‘come as a guest, leave as a friend’ this new, ground-floor restaurant is run by executive chef Aris Roussos, who presents his own take on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, with some Asian twists.
A: Mira Me Athens Hotel | Ermou 118, Athens
Drakoulis Dry & Raw
The luxury steakhouse returns to the capital’s gastronomic scene with a new venue in Kifissia. Its ambition is to become the hottest new ‘meating’ point in the northern suburbs. Stratos Drakoulis puts his signature on the varied menu of this place, which opened very recently.
A: Pentelis 1, Kifisia
Why did it take so long to think of this? Hasapika is a sushi restaurant inside the Varvakeio fish market on Athinas St. Try the Nigiri, sashimi, rolls and Greek-style fish soup, in an environment that could easily have sprung from an Anthony Bourdain show.
A: Central Market | Aristogitonos 1, Athens
Thanos Feskos returned to Greece exactly a year ago after 12 years abroad and a highly successful career in leading restaurants, mainly working as Assistant Head Chef at the famous Geranium in Copenhagen – which he claims changed his whole worldview on food. This summer he will be opening Delta Restaurant, which will centre around contemporary Greek cuisine of high gastronomy at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC).
The Municipality of Alimos is moving forward with a 100 million euro project that is set to give not only Athens but the entire Attica a new glamourous destination that can be enjoyed by locals and international visitors – once the upgrade of Alimos Marina is completed in 2025.
Alimos Marina is currently the largest marina in Greece and the Balkans and one of the most popular marinas in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It also happens to be the main base for yacht chartering in Athens and features 1100 permanent berths- while accommodating up to 600 boats in winter.
In collaboration with Aktor Concessions, Greek company REDS won the bid of undertaking the renovation of Alimos Marina for 40 years. It has been appointed to develop the project towards its total refurbishment and manage it for the whole concession period.
“The Marina’s refurbishment will bring it to the latest international standards, enrich it with additional uses and establish it as a leisure destination for tourists and locals alike,” announced REDS.
Last week the company presented its plans to the Municipal Council of Alimos showing both the design of the new marina and discussing the architectural study behind it.
According to the new plans, there will be a range of shops and restaurants, hotel, pier, pedestrian and bicycle path, planting and increase of greenery (thus improving the microclimate of the city), tower management and control of the marina, parking of 850 yachts (with increasing perspective), construction vertical to Poseidon and descents with plantations that will “connect” the city with the marina.
The new marina will also acquire a cultural footprint, as it will house the Municipal Gallery, showcasing rich works of the 20th century.
“It is a pioneering project, friendly to the city, a marina open to the citizens, modern and beautiful, which will bring multiple benefits”, said the Mayor of Alimos, Andreas Kondylis to APE-MPE.
“There will be a stimulation of the local market and at the same time, Alimos will enter the tourist map. It will become the main attraction, not only for our citizens but also for visitors. But beyond that, the Municipality will now be able to gain revenue from the marina,” says Kondylis.
Regarding the schedule, the Mayor announced that the consultations and licensing will be completed by the end of 2022, at the beginning of 2023 works will commence and are expected to be completed in 2025.
Having only opened its doors a few nights ago, this hot new drinking spot in Athens, is the talk of the town; and how can it not be when it’s the brainchild of Nikos Bakoulis and Vasilis Kyritsis, the creators behind award-winning bar The Clumsies, and their talented friend Dimitris Dafopoulos.
Type: All-day bar.
The low down:Line Athens serves grape-less wine (yes there’s such a thing), nomad beer, and artisan bread (a few types to choose from)- making this cool spot in the centre of the city “the” place to visit for magnificent cocktails, fabulous bar food, and a great laid-back vibe.
Bar menu: The impressive drinks menu includes cocktails such as the New York Sour featuring Mastiha/lemon/ Bruxo Mezcal/line port; grape-less wines from Greece including a Honey-why-in with cotton mead/pineapple/passion/fennel, and a Fig Why-in of the Askada variety from the region of Karditsa. For those that love a good beer, you can throw back a line lager or a line west coast.
Bar food: From King oyster spaghetti and Cabbage roll beef tartare to hot dogs with pork sausage and an Athenian salad with lettuce, celery, carrot, and parsley– the food has been created by young up-and-coming chef Pavlos Kiriakis, who has designed the enticing menu to be shared amongst friends.
Décor/Ambience: This stunning former gallery of Zouboulaki has been given a minimalist yet chic makeover by the talented Nine Design team who have added plenty of industrial touches. Featuring mainly concrete, metal and wood, the neutral tones are mixed in with a splash of colour- creating a fine, warm texture to the open space.
Cocktail/spirit price range: Cocktails are priced at 10 €, wines 6.50 to 7 € a glass and beer is around 6 €.
Dress code: Casual and relaxed.
Opening Hours: Open from noon to late evening Monday-Sunday
Discovering Daily Feel-Good and Wonderful Places in a Neighbourhood I Once Disliked with a Passion
I was never a big fan of the Kolonaki that’s usually written about and seen. The busier part, where the main square and all its surrounding streets thrive with costly liveliness. Essentially, I have always somewhat avoided the super-trendy areas with their hyper-expensive boutiques, glossy cafes and wine bars, delis and galleries.
For just over a year, I’ve been fortunate enough to have made my nest in the neighbourhood that overlooks the heart-opening, lush greenery of Lycabettus. The forested hill across my home resounds daily with the sound of birds, church bells and mainly spirited chit-chatter in all languages. On windy days, I listen out for the rustling leaves and the flag from the church of St George, which I feel privileged to watch flapping at the top of the hill through a tiny gap in the trees.
On cold winter mornings, I relish opening my balcony window to inhale the mulchy, crisp forest air, feeling like I’m living in the countryside; on summer nights I say “mmm” from the intoxicating wafts of jasmine, orange blossoms and night flowers. My part of Kolonaki was unbeknownst to me before I moved. It is quiet, quaint, and green, with joggers, tourists, families and dog walkers as its protagonists. Here I will share with you the favourite places I enjoy on an average day, places I reach around the area without ever entering the central part.
Morning to Midday
One of my favourite ways to indulge myself in the morning is to buy a Pain au Chocolat with Gianduja chocolate, or a perfectly flaky and buttery croissant with Cretan apaki ham, Greek graviera and a mustard bechamel from Kora Bakery on Anagnostopoulou St. What an Italian neighbour/friend of mine aptly described as a place that looks more like a hairdresser’s or bathroom – because of its yellow tiles on a stark white wall – rather than a bakery, Kora also sells artfully stacked loaves of freshly baked bread, including a very special one with hints of dark chocolate. The quality is high, the service is professional and there’s no hanging around.
For food shopping, I love visiting Kostarelos on Patriarchou Ioakeim St, originally a cheese manufacturer (since 1937) and now also a deli with top-quality products sold at very reasonable prices. One can get a takeout coffee and savoury or sweet pie or sit here and eat a yummy cheese (or chocolate!) fondue as well as other easy meals. Or, like me, just head straight for the counters deeper into the store, where I buy chocolate or vanilla cream (kremoula) puddings for my son, great ice cream (the pistachio flavour is made with Aegina pistachios) as well as wonderful fresh cuts of hams and cheeses, organic sliced bread with olive oil and even homemade style jams from small producers around the country.
Afternoon to Evening
Xenokratous Street is my go-to shopping zone. During lockdown, it was, happily, the only place I circulated in. I say happily because it’s one of those streets that has everything you may ordinarily need: two butcher shops, two kiosks of the type that sell ‘everything’, a neighbourhood café (The Daily, where mainly locals hang out) two small supermarkets, a florist, a cava, two pharmacies, a key shop and two jewellery shops, my favourite of which is Amaya, where I spend a good while gazing through the window to admire the beautifully handmade earrings, pendants and rings. It’s also the street where the ‘laiki’ open-air market takes place every Friday from 8 am-4 pm. The vendors definitely pinch up their prices for what they presume are richer locals, but the variety and product quality is good.
It’s also pleasing, especially during summer and springtime but also in cooler months, to spend afternoons and evenings at Dexameni, where you’ll find an ancient Roman aqueduct, an open-air (summer only) cinema, a playground and a café-restaurant with tiny tables lining the steep hill that leads down to it. This is where I often meet friends either for playdates with our kids or for drinks or a combination of both, a few meze dishes or a movie. On summer nights Dexameni Café gets very crowded with everyone from millennials from around the city to elderly regulars who queue to sit at the tables.
Since I moved to Kolonaki I must have walked by Bar 56 a gazillion times without even noticing it. Shrouded by a giant black umbrella and hidden in an enclosed, leafy corner along the Ploutarchou Street stairway, once I did notice the warm, reddish light coming from inside it I thought it may be an underground haunt frequented by mafia, and/or ladies of the night. Much to my surprise, when I finally plucked up the courage to pop my head inside upon returning from the St George’s Kick Boxing Club just two minutes down the stairs, I was somewhat awestruck in discovering a vintage-style bar with a jazzy soundtrack that was dreamily lit by fairy lights, with old photos covering the walls, a layout designed for lovers of clandestine corners and a piano. It turns out it has been around for some 30 years and is a “known secret” among serious whiskey and rum connoisseurs. It’s now what I call “my new neighbourhood steki” or hangout, although with Covid madness I’ve only made it there twice thus far.
Nice N Easy
This place, where Skoufa Street meets Omirou Street, reminds me of the TV show ‘Taxi’, “where everybody knows your name” as the theme song goes, and I’ve had some of the best nights of my life there. Why? Chiefly, the owners, Eirini Andersen, Dimitris Christoforidis and Executive Chef Chris Athanasiadis, individuals who know everything right about running a successful, ‘I’ll-Be-Back’ vibe restaurant that offers an idyllic combination of warm hospitality, delicious farm-to-table healthy food, feel-good décor and a happily buzzy ambience. Located near the beautiful Agios Dionyssios church and classically intellectual-friendly Filion Café, this place has always felt like a perfect place to get away while also feeling like home.
Prasini Tenda Oh…Those Summer Nights! When, after a short (but sharp, let’s face it!) walk up the steps towards St George church on Lycabettus you arrive at a stunning, and at night, sparkly, panoramic view of Athens, the Parthenon, the sea…Enough said. From morning to night, but especially seductive at night, this café-restaurant is the perfect place to fall in love with the city you’re in, and if you’re with the right company, perhaps with whoever happens to be sitting across you. The main dish is the view, but the service and menu are appealing as well.
The rain may be slamming against the window but you’re lost in the warm buzz, cool tunes and beautifully-mixed drinks. The pandemic may not be over but we’re going out to the city’s cozy bars and we’re not coming home early!
Galaxy (10 Stadiou St, Laimou Arcade, Syntagma)
A really, really old-school ‘cafeteria’ bar that served its first drink in 1970. It’s still visited by loyal clientele of old mixed with eclectic youngsters, and known for its late night, dimly lit chatter.
Wine Point (2 Porinou & Athanassiou Diakou, Makriyianni)
A two-storey bar with low lighting, live jazz bands every so often and a dedication to – as its name suggests – over 200 wine labels, from around the country. Try menus themed around wineries that combine grapes with bites.
Tiki Bar Athens (15 Falirou, Koukaki)
Leopard-print and neon, live gigs and cool DJ sets combine with Tiki cocktails that raises the spirits and may even get you boogeying along in a timeless spiral.
Convento Del’ Arte (Virginias Bekani 7, Metaxourgeio)
An atmospheric space that seems to belong to a different era and wine labels from over 650 winemakers with a jazz, tango or classical soundtrack and modern Greek dishes.
Brettos Bar (Kydathinaion 41, Plaka)
Famous for its rows of liqueur bottles lit up by coloured lights and benches with barrel seats, this old Plaka haunt serves potent homemade spirits as well as wine and beer and is known to keep punters in til the wee hours.
Drupes and Drips (Misaraliotou 14, Makriyianni)
A tiny place with a big personality and early closing hours, this is a charcuterie/juice bar by day and the best place to enjoy a very decently priced spritz cocktail from the afternoon till night-time.
Baba Au Rum (6 Klitiou, Monastiraki)
A hip vintage-style bar with world-acclaimed mixologists and some of the best rum cocktails you’ll ever drink – indeed that’s cocktails plural because it’s near impossible to stop at one.
The 7 Jokers (7 Voulis,Syntagma)
Come here for a beautifully mixed ‘I can’t cope with reality’ Bloody Mary in the afternoon or that last glass of wine late, late into the night, after wandering around the historical centre’s less classic spots.
O Kyrios (Mavili Square, Ambelokipi)
A long marble-top bar, mirrored walls and checkered floors with aproned servers, a French-Italian-Greek inspired menu and elegant cocktails sweep you into art deco style glamour and a stylish social buzz.
Upupa Epops (7 Alkiminis, Petralona)
A patchwork of spaces – all of them very welcoming and decorated with a unique style – and an impressive cocktail menu that is definitely designed to tantalise the tastebuds.
Hundreds of exciting Christmas events are taking place throughout 52 locations in the Greek Capital, giving locals and visitors the chance to celebrate the festive season with a huge program that’s been designed by the Athens Municipality.
Taking place between December 7, 2021, and January 13, 2022, the Christmas and New Year program involves more than 120 activities for people of all ages, including 25 music and theatre performances, as well as seven open-air film screenings.
“This Christmas, Athens will be celebrating each day, with special events created to make people of all ages smile. Due to the challenges faced by the prolonged pandemic, the municipality of Athens has responded with music, theatre, and Christmas surprises for everyone,” announced Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis.
Among the highlights is the opening of the biggest ice skating rink in Athens. Located in Kotzia Square (opposite City Hall) and covering 400 square metres, it’s set to open on December 10. Admission to the rink is free but visitors are required to book via this link here.
There will also be six Christmas “villages” set up in various neighbourhoods, including the suburbs of Acharnes, Kypseli, Pangrati and Goudi, where there will be a range of arts, crafts and hand painting taking place; as well as Santa and his elves, plus other activities and spectacles (including stilt walkers, jugglers, puppets, animateurs, magicians) bringing joy to the streets of Athens.
Commencing on December 11, the city’s museums, libraries, galleries, art centres and other venues will also host various workshops for art, narration, theatre games and dance, children’s pantomimes, puppet shows, tours and much more.
The events will also include seven popular Christmas films selected by the Athens Open Air Film Festival and Premiere Nights, that will be screened outdoors in seven different locations in the city between December 17 to 30.